“We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code” –David D Clarke I thank Sunny Aggarwal for putting quote above on his presentation at Cosmoverse on September 27, 2022. This post is about that quote and a few primitive thoughts linking learning, organization design, and perspective coordination. Kings, presidents and voting Kings, presidents, and voting can be placed on an axis. A king is centralized authority with relatively little consent. A president is centralized authority with consent. Voting is distributed authority with consent. In each step, the relative power of the hierarchy to impose arbitrary decisions upon a network is checked by some reactive network mechanism. It is still common in some parts of the[…]

A quality attribute, in systems engineering, is a non-functional requirement. You can think of it as an adjective that describe a system. Consider information virtual goods and the different kinds of deals we’re presented with [1]. One major design pattern is that a group of people gather information, concentrate it into a single artifact, and distribute it. You pay attention to that artifact. In exchange, a portion of your attention is sold to yet another group of people who are willing to pay for that attention. Those artifacts in the 20th century included: the newspaper, the magazine, the radio broadcast, the news reel, the 30 minute, 60 minute, and 24 hour linear television newscast format. Towards the end of the[…]

If a quality attribute is an adjective describing something, and an organization is a set of people segmented by purpose, then what kind of quality attributes could be used to describe an organization? A good place to begin is with a segmentation of purposes. What is the purpose of the organization? I am bathed in neoliberalism. You might even say that I have been marinated in it. Pickled. The first segmentation that comes to mind each contain the term profit. There are for-profit organizations, non-profits, and not-for-profits. Profit-as-a-Purpose predisposes an organization whole range of quality attributes. Non-profits and not-for-profits are predisposed to another set of quality attributes. Profit motive offers one cleavage for segmentation. It’s obvious because it’s the neoliberal thing to[…]

If a quality attribute is an adjective describing something, and a virtual good is something that does not occupy a physical space, then what kind of quality attributes could be used to describe a virtual good? The most common physical goods (I.e. found in the real world; found in meatspace) that most humans come into daily contact with are clothing and water. Many come into contact with the floor of their shelter and experience walls and a roof. Not enough humans come into contact with enough protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Physical goods are physical, and we experience them all the time. Many humans don’t ever encounter any virtual goods. Virtual goods aren’t physical. These words, the ones you are reading[…]

It’s quite astonishing to think about just how much human knowledge exists, and just how diffuse its distribution is. It’s hard for any individual to tell. There are clues though. Knowledge is a major way that people create distinctions among one another, so it stands to reason that you can get a sense for how knowledge is distributed by looking at the distinctions people make amongst themselves. The knowledge of French and the knowledge of English creates a distinction between two rather large groups. The knowledge and application of ancient stories is another. The knowledge of how to shape a piece of wood, or stone, or glass used to be a pretty huge distinction. There are entire identities put in[…]

What are the quality attributes and need-solution pairs of Web3? At minimum, the key quality attribute is decentralization. The key matching need is fairness. There are good reasons why this is so. I’d love to be able cite someone that there is a natural tendency for humans to centralize power. I’d love for that statement to be axiomatic. I can cite quite a few papers that appear to just take it as a given (Aristotle (301 BCE, Machiavelli (1513), Bloomfield and Coombs (1992)). But, I can’t find a passage for the axiom anywhere. For the purposes of this post, I’m importing the assumption as a truth: there is a tendency for people to centralize to power. Decentralization is a counter-force[…]

“Consider organized anarchies.” (Cohen, March and Olsen, 1972) Product management exists within the context of organized anarchies. Within that context, product managers do their best to create, read, update, and destroy elements of a product roadmap. There are a few definitions of what a product roadmap is. From Atlasssian: “A product roadmap is a shared source of truth that outlines the vision, direction, and progress of a product over time.” Another: “A product roadmap can be seen as a key element of an organization that maps out the vision and direction of the product offering. It describes the way how a product or a product portfolio is going to meet a set of business objectives and the work that is required[…]

Leopold makes the argument that business agility isn’t software agility [1]. It’s a very good argument. Here’s a few ways to think about Leopold’s insight. Most products are static. A pie is made, purchased, and consumed. As are most physical goods: toasters, fans, mattresses, tables and so on. Most goods leave a residue behind but their core essence is completed. A toaster will persist in the landfill unless it’s dug up later. Otherwise, it’ll go onto form a line in the geological strata. Most virtual goods are static too. A lottery ticket, a podcast, a book, a brand marketing campaign, an episode of Avenue5. Most of these goods are shipped and then they’re effectively gone from their creators. They leave[…]

Life changes the planet. It always has. We humans are life. We’re changing the planet. How you choose to think about it has a lot to do with what you choose to do about it. The Medea Hypothesis In his book, The Medea Hypothesis, Peter Ward summarizes a few decades of ecology research and adds a few of his ideas of his own. Ward argues that the idea that life seeks to create equilibrium with the environment, the Gaia Hypothesis, is false. He paints a compelling picture of how life doesn’t create harmony with the planet at all. Life appears to be in perpetual conflict with the abiotic environment. It tries to occupy as much space as it can. It[…]

What you believe has a lot to do with who you believe. Who you believe, and who you don’t, can be represented as a network. Networks cause and reinforce trust. In this post, I’m going to try to make the connection between trust, society, and the delta variant of COVID. As I begin writing this post on July 20, 2021, I know about Delta Variant. We know that it’s burning through large populations of unvaccinated people. I think most people see it coming. And as the days passed, I watched increasing anxiety about what is to come. As a I publish this on August 1, there still isn’t much evidence of a mass urgency to vaccinate. So why the inaction?[…]